Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions

Date:
December 1, 2009
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have found that foreign policy explanations from presidential administrations that are plainly stated and easier to understand are likely to receive public support, while policy explanations that are complicated and convoluted are likely to face greater public skepticism.

Surveys have shown that the public pays little attention to foreign policy, but politicians regularly cite the importance of public support for military actions overseas. Now, a new study has found that these responses may be heavily influenced by White House rhetoric.

University of Missouri researchers have found that foreign policy explanations from presidential administrations that are plainly stated and easier to understand are likely to receive public support, while policy explanations that are complicated and convoluted are likely to face greater public skepticism.

"Many analyses have shown that the public pays little attention to foreign policy," said Cooper Drury, associate professor of political science in the College of Arts and Science and editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Analysis. "While well-informed citizens are likely to evaluate the policy for what it is, a majority of Americans will buy what the White House sells them. If the president is able to define an intervention in simple, compelling terms, he is likely to get considerably more support from the public."

In the study, researchers distributed four different mock news stories that were formatted to look like a New York Times article printed from the internet and surveyed participants' opinions of the policy. The articles described a conflict between two fictitious countries in Latin America. In simple terms, the first article described a policy that aimed to stop aggression, and the second article described the same policy in complex terms. The third article described a policy of "nation building" in simple terms, and the fourth article described that policy in complex terms.

The results of the study demonstrated that Americans who pay attention to the news are better able to prudently evaluate a foreign policy, while those Americans who tend to ignore political news are heavily swayed by what the White House tells them. Reading or watching the news allows citizens to evaluate what the president says rather than just accept the bill of goods, Drury said.

"Presidents have a great deal of power to shape public opinion of policy goals that require military action if they have the ability to manipulate the type of language that is used," Drury said. "The public needs to pay attention to the political world around them so that they can cut through the White House's rhetoric and truly evaluate policy."

The study, "'Pretty Prudent' or Rhetorically Responsive? The American Public's Support for Military Action," was published in the Political Research Quarterly. It was co-authored by Drury; L. Marvin Overby; Adrian Ang; and Yitan Li. Drury was recently named editor-in-chief of Foreign Policy Analysis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Missouri-Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111156.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2009, December 1). White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111156.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "White House rhetoric is important in forming foreign policy opinions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111156.htm (accessed August 28, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

JPMorgan Chase Confirms Possible Cyber Attack

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 28, 2014) Attackers stole checking and savings account information and lots of other data from JPMorgan Chase, according to the New York Times. Other banks are believed to be victims as well. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

CDC Director On Ebola Outbreak: 'It's Worse Than I Feared'

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) CDC director Tom Frieden says the Ebola outbreak is even worse than he feared. But he also said there's still hope to contain it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free College Tuition to Break Cycle of Poverty

Free College Tuition to Break Cycle of Poverty

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Alvernia University is trying to help kids break the cycle of poverty in Reading, Pennsylvania, one of the nation's poorest cities, by offering them full scholarships along with intensive tutoring and mentoring. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Japan's Golden Generation Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

Japan's Golden Generation Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

AFP (Aug. 27, 2014) For many people in the autumn of their lives, walking up stairs is the biggest physical challenge they face. But in Japan, race tracks, hammer or pole vault await competitors at the Kyoto Masters, some of them more than 100 years old. Duration: 02:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins